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Puff, puff, pass/fail: why almost 20 percent of cannabis products have failed state testing




Chief Scientific Officer Swetha Kaul examines various forms of tested marijuana products inside the Cannalysis Laboratory in Santa Ana, California, June 20, 2018.
Chief Scientific Officer Swetha Kaul examines various forms of tested marijuana products inside the Cannalysis Laboratory in Santa Ana, California, June 20, 2018.
Kyle Grillot for LAist

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In the just over two months since the state of California has started testing cannabis products for potency and purity, nearly one fifth of the products tested have not met state standards.

The Associated Press got its hands on data from the California Bureau of Cannabis Control, the state marijuana regulatory agency, which showed that state-licensed labs have found levels of pesticides and even bacteria like salmonella and E. coli that are not acceptable for a product to be greenlit for sale in California.

A spokesperson for the Bureau of Cannabis Control tells the AP that the mandatory testing is still in its early stages and that there will be wrinkles to iron out but that overall, they’re happy with the progress thus far. Some in the cannabis industry, however, say that the standards are too stringent or unrealistic.

They argue that the THC concentration target is too small to hit, and that products that fall negligible amounts outside the standard are being rejected. Others say the testing doesn’t go far enough, and that the state should consider other methods used in testing things like food or pharmaceuticals.

How are cannabis products tested for sale on the recreational market? What are the protocols the state requires the labs to follow? And what’s the reasoning for the 20 percent failure rate? What has California learned from other states about what does and doesn’t work in testing?

AirTalk contacted the California Bureau of Cannabis Control and requested a representative be made available for this conversation, but they were not able to accommodate our request.

Guests:

Jerred Kiloh,  president of United Cannabis Business Association, a Los Angeles-based cannabis industry group representing regulated cannabis retailers in California, and owner of The Higher Path Collective, a medical and recreational cannabis dispensary in Sherman Oaks

Kristi Knoblich-Palmer, chief operating officer at Kiva Confections, a company that manufactures cannabis-infused edibles, and president of the California Cannabis Industry Association; she is also a founding member of the California Cannabis Manufacturers’ Association, where she still sits on the Board of Directors



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